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The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) has received a Maryland Heritage Areas Authority “Stories of the Chesapeake” capital grant for $100,000 toward the renovation of the Vincent and Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building in Chestertown

Vincent and Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building

“The significance of this grant cannot be understated,” said Arts Council President Clark Bjorke. “To be recognized by a division of the Maryland Historic Trust for renovation of an historic anchor building for Chestertown’s Main Street and Arts & Entertainment District, is quite exciting.  What better way to tell more of the stories of our region than through the arts.”

The grant brings total capital funding to nearly $300,000 toward a $1 million goal, in just 12 months, according to John Schratwieser, Director of the KCAC.

“Thanks to the generosity of so many, we have purchased this historic building, fully replaced the roof, and now, thanks to Stories of the Chesapeake, we can stabilize the structure and begin the process of renovating the inside to create a real ‘home’ for the arts in Kent County,” he added.  Already, the Raimond Arts Building has hosted two major KCAC exhibitions, and has been used free of charge by Chestertown RiverArts, National Music Festival, Poetry Out Loud, Kent County Public Schools, Maryland State Arts Council, the County Arts Agencies of Maryland, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, Music in the Park, and more.

“We can’t wait for it to be renovated and to increase its use as a service to the residents of Kent County,” Schratwieser said.

Invest

In keeping with its mission to invest, infuse, and inspire the arts for all in Kent County, the KCAC is also announcing the opening dates for its FY19 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) grant cycles. On Aug. 7, it will open its General Operating Support grant applications.

These grants are specifically for the annual operations and programming of nonprofit arts organizations, whose primary mission is to deliver arts services and programs to the community.  In fiscal year 2018, the KCAC awarded more than $30,000 in this category supporting Chestertown RiverArts, The Garfield Center for the Arts, The Mainstay, National Music Festival, Chester River Chorale, Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble, Kent County Community Marching Band, The Chestertown Spy and the Chester River Youth Chorale. For FY19 nearly $40,000, an increase of over 30%, will be available.  The Board of the Arts Council is finalizing new guidelines and a new process for FY19.

In FY18, Project Grants were awarded to nearly 20 community organizations including: Legacy Day, Chestertown Tea Party, Rock Hall Fall Fest, Sultana Downrigging, Dickens of a Christmas, Chester Valley Ministers Association, Martin Luther King Day Breakfast, Vincent Hynson Scholarships, ChesterGras, Kent County High School Mural, Whitsitt Center Mural, and Janes United Methodist Church’s Gospel Celebration, among others. For FY19, $20,000 has been committed to this category — a 25% increase over last year. Project Grants are available on a rolling bases throughout the year and are typically between $500 and $1,000.

Infuse

Kent County High School students and teachers work with guest artist Sue Stockman on KCHS Mural

The KCAC, working with local nonprofit consultant Darran Tilghman, hosts “Infusion Sessions” for arts administrators in the County. This year, KCAC is coordinating opportunities for directors of the general operating grant recipients to meet with and learn from veteran administrators in their field, working in organizations throughout Maryland.  The KCAC will provide a stipend to cover travel and food for a one-day visit as follows:  Chestertown River Arts with The Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, MD; The Garfield Center for the Arts with Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD; The Mainstay with Strathmore Hall and its related AMP venue in Bethesda, MD; National Music Festival with the University of Maryland College Park’s National Orchestra Institute, College Park, MD; Sumner Hall with the Prince George’s African American Museum in Hyattsville, MD and KCAC has even reached across the Chester to connect Church Hill Theatre with Everyman Theater in Baltimore, MD.  “These professional development meetings are fantastic opportunities to enhance and expand upon the great work our local arts and culture administrators are already doing,” Schratwieser said.

The Kent County Arts Council will also continue to grow the popular ARTS IN MOTION Program created by Tom McHugh in collaboration with the Kent County Public Schools.  As such, we will host a second annual Professional Development Day for Kent County Public School teachers, working in tandem with KCPS’s Gina Jachimowicz and Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch to support Kent County fine arts teachers, and to share examples of arts integration with faculty from all subjects.  The First “PD” day, held in January 2018, focused on introducing our 11 fine arts teachers to artists and arts organizations in the County who stand ready, willing, and able to support our teachers and their students through the arts.  This program is funded in part by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust.

Inspire

The Kent County Arts Council has a role to play in providing inspiring opportunities for artists and residents alike.  The Arts Council continues to celebrate the success of last year’s “WarFront/HomeFront” and “Heroin & Healing” exhibitions, both of which reached deep in to the community to raise the level of understanding of the use of the arts to transform lives and communities, and to provide a vehicle for empathy and understanding.  Our mission — to Inspire — continues this fall with two major works.

First, in partnership with Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend Festival, Oct. 26–28, the KCAC will produce a new short play written by Kent County playwright and poet, Robert Earl Price, called “UNLADING”. This poem-turned-dramatic work will feature six to eight actors embodying the voices of the first 23 enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, VA almost 400 years ago, in August 1619. The production will be performed in the sanctuary of historic Janes United Methodist Church in Chestertown.

Second, in collaboration with The Philips Collection in Washington, D.C., the KCAC will partner with Kent County High School, the Garfield Center for the Arts and Chestertown RiverArts on a multi-faceted program called “Migration: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence” in September, October and November 2018 that will culminate with four evenings of theater, Nov. 1–4 at the Garfield and an exhibit of student “Migration” themed art work at RiverArts Nov. 1 – 11.

KCAC has engaged playwright and producer Jacqueline Lawton, assistant professor of Theater at UNC Chapel Hill, to bring five new plays to Kent County. Commissioned by the Philips Collection in 2015, each is based on one of the 60 “Great Migration Series” panels painted by renowned African-American artist Jacob Lawrence.  Michele Volansky, Washington College chair of Theater and Dance, will direct the plays, which will be presented as the first act of a two-act evening. The second act will be a revival of Kent County’s own “migration” story — “Red Devil Moon” by Pam Ortiz and Robert Earl Price.

As part of the Arts Council’s work to increase access to the arts for KCPS students, 40 students from Kent County High School and four KCPS art teachers will have the opportunity to visit the Philips Collection in September. The students and teachers will see some of Lawrence’s Great Migration Series panels up close and get a full workshop on the panels and other great works at the art museum.

Following this field trip, the high school students will work with their teachers to create their own works, interpreting the Migration Series panels, and elementary school art teachers will also work with their students to create work related to Lawrence.

Finally, to further solidify the student’s connection to the Great Migration, the KCAC and The Garfield will partner to bus students from all over Kent County to a day-time performance of “Red Devil Moon” at The Garfield on Thursday, October 18, as part of this comprehensive program.

KCAC is grateful to the Indian Point Foundation, The Philanthropic Network, and the Hedgelawn Foundation for their generous support of our programming.  The Kent County Arts Council is funded in large part by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council with investment from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Kent County Commissioners and the people of Kent County, Maryland.

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Kent County Arts Council Announces FY19 Officers, Names Carla Massoni to Board

The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) elected the following officers at its June 10, 2018 annual meeting to serve two-year terms:
Clark Bjorke, president
Charles Taylor, vice president
Meredith Davies Hadaway, secretary
Jason Claire, treasurer

The board also unanimously welcomed Carla Massoni of Massoni Art Gallery to a three-year term, effective July 1, filling a vacancy created by long-time member Marilee Schumann’s retirement.

“I am honored that Carla agreed to join our board,” said KCAC Director John Schratwieser, praising Massoni’s three-plus decades of commitment to arts and culture in Kent County. “She is one of those people who when we first met, I knew she ‘got it’. She shares the KCAC’s vision for the role of the arts in education, community development and economic vitality, and we shared the desire to maximize this role for the future of Kent County and its residents.”

Massoni has over 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur. A resident of Chestertown, Md., since 1985, she has been actively involved in community arts and humanities projects. She established a premier contemporary craft and fine art gallery (Massoni- Sommer) in 1990 and continues to provide educational programming and exhibitions featuring established contemporary artists at MASSONIART. In 2016, she opened CREATE art.craft.design in Chestertown with five partners – all award-winning craft artists.

Previous career highlights include: partnership in a pioneering human resources firm; founder and partner of a training program and school for women re-entering the job market, and owner of a boutique hotel and restaurant. She was the 2014 recipient of the William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award for Kent County.

Carla Massoni was eager to step up to support the Arts Council’s work. “I have long admired John Schratwieser. His commitment to the arts and the communities he serves is inspiring,” said Massoni. “I have great faith that John will continue Leslie Raimond’s dedication to serve those in Kent County who are often overlooked. John’s skills have been developed in numerous arts organizations and his work as Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts enables him to move with credibility on the both the state and national stage. The board he is developing is diverse and skilled. I look forward to working with all under his leadership.”

She continued by saying, “My particular focus will be the next generation. I hope to work closely with Kent County Public School teachers and students. There is no reason why Kent County cannot have the BEST schools in the State of Maryland. The arts provide the STEAM for the engine of social progress.”

Carla was a founding member on the Board of Directors for the Sultana Education Foundation; a member of the Board of Trustees at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md.; a member of the Board of the National Music Festival; a founding member of the Greater Chestertown Initiative; a member of the Washington College SANDBOX Advisory Board; and served on the Advisory Board of the Art of Stewardship Foundation.

Massoni founded the Women Helping Women annual concert to benefit migrant workers in Marydel, Md., and served as Southeast regional representative for the Beyond War Foundation’s Breakthrough Project US/Soviet Union. She previously served as a juror for the Academy Art Museum most recently for their 17th Annual Craft Show, has been a juror for numerous arts institutions in Maryland, and served as a juror for Philadelphia Museum of Art 2017 Craft Show.

The Kent County Arts Council was founded in 1975 and is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts service organization. KCAC’s mission is to invest, infuse, and inspire the arts for all in Kent County.

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Museums of Kent County Open House – Saturday, May 5, 2018

A self driving tour of 12 museums in Kent County MD, will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 10am to 4pm. Appealing to all ages and interests, they exhibit the culture, lifestyles and history of this Eastern Shore county. Knowledgeable guides, some special events, and free admission await visitors. Brochures with a map available at Visitors Center, Kent Library, Sumner Hall and The Bordley Building in Chestertown. Supported by the Kent County Tourism Department and the Kent County Arts Council.

Massey Aero Museum   A living airport-museum reminiscent of rural airports of bygone eras. Vintage aircraft, artifacts and touch and feel exhibits. A restoration shop operates most days. Frequent fly-ins.
Open 10am – 4pm
33541 Maryland Line Rd Massey, MD 21650

Kent Museum Farming equipment representing the rural heritage of agriculture and domestic life. Charley’s House c. 1840, last surviving dwelling of a small black community
Open 10am – 3pm
13869 Turners Creek Rd Kennedyville, MD 21645

Knocks Folly 1796 Federal style brick home houses exhibits which highlight the history of farming, the native American Tockwogh tribe and visit of Captain John Smith during his voyage on the Chesapeake Bay.
Open 10 – 4
13761 Turners Creek Rd Kennedyville, Md 21645

Betterton Heritage Museum  Betterton Fishing Ark open for tours. Speed Joiner decoys on display. Photos show fishing and hunting as main occupations. Popular beach in early 1900’s with photos of the grand Rigbie Hotel. Gift Shop.
Open 10am – 3:30pm
100 Main St Betterton, MD   21610

Bordley History Center
Headquarters for the Historical Society of Kent County. Many resources are available to the researcher within the library, genealogical and archival spaces. Historical exhibits and shop.
Open 10am – 3pm
301 High St Chestertown, MD 21620

Sumner Hall   Restored and listed on National Register of Historic Places, it honors African-American Civil War vets of Charles Sumner Post #25, Grand Army of the Republic and features historical roles of African-Americans in Kent County.
Open 10am – 4pm
206 S. Queen St Chestertown Chestertown, MD 21620

*African-American Schoolhouse  Interpretive panel and exterior viewing only. Still in its original location.
St. James Newtown Rd, north of Worton, MD 21678

Cliffs Schoolhouse   One room school with seven grades and one teacher served families of rural southern Kent County from 1878-1939. Furnishings, books and artifacts of the era. Blackboards with lessons.   In its original location.
Open 10am – 4pm
Cliffs City Rt. 289 S   8.5 miles south of Chestertown, MD 21620

Rock Hall Museum   Hand crafted boat and ship models, decoy carving shop replica, seafood processing, boat oystering rig, ice buoy, representing the marine culture of Rock Hall.
Open 10am – 4pm
5585 Main St. Town Building, Rock Hall, Md 21661

Waterman’s Museum   Artifacts and a fishing shanty from the early days of oystering, crabbing and fishing. Photographic documentation of past and present watermen. Next to Haven Harbour Marina.
Open 10am – 4pm
Rock Hall Avenue, Rock Hall, MD 21661

Tolchester Beach Revisited   Presents and preserves the history of this amusement park 1877 to 1962. Pictures, artifacts and memorabilia of the most popular resort along the Chesapeake Bay.
Open 10am – 4pm
Oyster Court off Sharp & Main Rock Hall, MD 21661

Rock Hall Marine Restoration and Heritage Center Located in the historic Clam House on Rock Hall’s harbor. “Steamboats on the Chesapeake and Chester River” exhibit shows the history of recreational and working vessels on the ‘Bay.
Open 11am – 4pm
21083 Chesapeake Avenue Rock Hall, MD 21661

Contact:     Carol Cordes                                John Schratwieser

cordescarolb@gmail.com                             john@kentcountyartscouncil.org

410-778-9173                                                  410-778-3700
410-441-9551                                                   410-708-9751

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